Warning: The following story contains graphic images and may be disturbing to some readers.
It’s one of the oldest professions in the world. And though the act of selling one’s body is frowned upon in my societies, doing so is still viewed as work in areas of Bangladesh, one of the few Muslim countries where prostitution remains legal.
In the district of Tangail, one will find the Kandapara brothel, which is the oldest and second largest brothel in the country, reports The Independent. The area and its purpose have existed for the last 200 years. In 2014, however, the Kandapara brothel was destroyed. As a result, many women didn’t know where to go. So, with the help of local NGOs, it was restarted once again.
Recently, photojournalist Sandra Hoyn traveled to the “brothel district” and documented what life is like inside the walled city. Food stall, tea shops, and street vendors can be found in the narrow streets, and the city is said to have its own rules and hierarchies of power which differ greatly from mainstream society. One example Hoyn shared is that the women are both weak and powerful.
Also included in this story are telling images of the distressful life these women lead in their small world captured by renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist Andrew Biraj.